Beauties! It’s here. The Fourth of July is here. Fireworks, barbecues, watermelon, wine spritzers, and that glorious sunshine...it’s all happening right now. I love this holiday.
There is so much excitement surrounding this holiday, that it’s easy to forget the underlying theme behind the day: Independence. There is a special ring to that word isn’t there? I have been thinking a lot about the word independent, which makes sense since it has been woven into my internal makeup from such a young age and still pulses through my every action today. Lord knows I am not emotionally independent from those I love...I’d give them the stars and the moon. I can say that I am independent in almost every other aspect of my life, for better or for worse.
I’d like to focus on the ‘better’ piece first.
Each category of my life--my career, work ethic, workout regime, eating schedule, colleague interactions, peer relations, etc.--has a trace of independence woven through it. I’ve had many mentors and professionals walk with me in my career, and I will forever be grateful for them. The seed within me to succeed, that was all my own. My parents pushed me further than I thought I could go, and for that gave me my relentless work ethic. My choice to keep persevering no matter the obstacle, was just that, my personal choice. Moving my body and using food as fuel gives me ownership over the way my body feels. I independently made that decision.
The way in which others perceive me is perhaps the most difficult example of independence in my life. I’ve chosen to be so independent, that at times I wonder if I come across as too private and slightly unapproachable. I remember my first encounter with this self-reflection.
Picture me in high school: a tall, lengthy cheerleader with bangs who was too shy to speak to most of her peers, and preferred to be in her own world. At first, I was independent not by choice. Then my world became private, and I found that I loved it. Other girls in my class didn’t love that I was so comfortable in my own world though, and I paid the price. One day I walked to the high school parking lot and saw that someone had slit the tires on my car. This was one incident of many...
I never knew that my independence--my private aura--would work against me.
And thank God it did, or else I wouldn’t be where I am today.
So, thank you to the bullies in middle school, and especially the ones in high school. You shed the light on the parts of me that stood out and were different, unique, authentic and shining awkwardly on.
I’m damn proud of it.
Being an independent woman can be difficult. At times, it’s lonely. I still wonder why I was set apart for my independence, rather than accepted; but I don’t ponder that for long, because nothing was worth losing my independence. My hope is for young girls to read this and say: ‘Wow. So it’s not just me”.
No way! It’s not just you. You be independent girl, and we will ALL rejoice.
Beauties, what makes you different is your power. What makes you stand out is your potential. What makes you shine is your authenticity. Trust in your own untried capacity. Don’t be surprised that when you do indeed try to find some independence in your life, in whatever shape or form that may be, you come out of it a little stronger. A little taller.
When I think about independence, not only for this beautiful country, but for each and every one of you, I hope you unapologetically stand firm in who you are.
You are Different
You Stand out
You are Independent